It’s hard to picture your mother as a young girl. Especially when you both have reached an age where the roles reversal begins. But yes my mother was once a girl, even a teenage girl. She came of age in the late 50’s. She graduated high school in the Spring of 1959. I’ve seen her school annuals. They are filled with pictures of that era. She was there for the birth of Rock & Roll and the starting point of Elvis Presley.
If you spent a day listening to music with her today you would not know that. She enjoys Gospel and classic Country. But there was a time that she was an innocent, bright eyed girl. She thought about her future. She wrote letters to her brother’s friend who was serving in the Army and stationed in Berlin (my father). She had a couple of this new guy’s records. His name was Elvis.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to the Elvis station on my satellite radio on my way home from work each night. His body of work is astounding. I am amazed when they play his rendition of someone else’s song. For instance “Hey Jude.” They play “takes” where Elvis or someone messes up. They play “takes” where Elvis has the giggles.
When I’m making that drive to work and back, my mind tends to wander. Especially during the evening drive. So while I’m listening to Elvis, my thoughts sometimes stray to other thoughts and memories. Last week I was thinking about when Elvis died. It was August, 1977, I was 15 years old and we were at my grandmother’s. It was a big deal.
My mother didn’t cry. At least I don’t remember her crying. But I do remember her saying that she wished she had her Elvis records. When I asked her what happened to them she said that right before she got married she threw them in the trash.
Why? you ask. She said that she was getting married and she thought it was
time to throw away her girlhood things. Crazy girl! Of course in 1959 she knew Elvis was popular, but she had no idea what an icon he would become.
So she grew up. She fell in love with the likes of Ray Price and Faron Young. But even at the age of 72, Elvis still plays a part in her life. Recently we had to call the phone company. In addition to the usual questions they ask to verify you identity they asked “Who is your favorite singer?” Well the answer was Elvis of course.
I could tell you about the time Buck Owens hit on her at Panther Hall. But I’ll save that for another day.